Everything To Know Before Fashion Month Kicks Off

You know the drill: New York Fashion Week rolls around and kicks off a four-week relay on both sides of the Atlantic (with a pit stop in Los Angeles first this time around). This is routine for seasoned industry players — but the last few years have involved a number of shake-ups to the status quo. We've seen a handful of brands diverge from the tried-and-true, season-ahead runway show in favor of presentations or private viewings, with some test-driving the whole "see now, buy now" approach. In February 2016, we began speculating about what that buzzy, instant-gratification approach would mean for both the calendar and for editors covering new collections; by September, more brands had joined the consumer-facing wave. By now, we'd expect to have a clear picture about fall '17 versus spring '17 — except, of course we don't.

The jury's still out on whether the industry as a whole will totally switch over to in-season presentations — or whether there's even a point to Fashion Week in this day and age. One thing we can count on, though, is designers changing how we see, consume, and engage with new fashion, be it by combining their men's and women's collections or by staging experiential brand moments rather than ranking their guests by seat assignment and sticking to a traditional runway format. We're also seeing more names bow out of Fashion Week as a whole, preferring to channel their energy (and funds) into their collections or other parts of the company.

The industry is in a constant state of flux, so it's helpful to go into this month with a road map of what we can expect from the next few weeks of catwalks, style stalking, and more-dressed-up-than-usual celebrity sightings. Ahead, check out the Fashion Month conversation-starters you need to know this season.